A friend just sent me this: Financial District Wine and Liquor, here in New York, is selling a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 20 Year Old for $1,299. By comparison, a 750 ml bottle of Buffalo Trace costs $33.94. By another comparison, up until a few years ago that bottle could be had for under $100. Is this the Robert-Parkerization of bourbon, already? Sure, why the hell not. Clay Risen
There comes a time in every pedant’s life – many times, for serial pedants – when it no longer pays to fight the misuse of words and phrases, no matter how annoying or obviously wrong. I long ago conceded that “begging the question” now just means “raising the question,” instead of “assuming the initial point.” Because it’s tiring, and pointless, and no one wants to be “that guy” – even if that guy is right.
And so it is with “moonshine.” Point of fact, moonshine is illegally produced liquor. It can be anything, but it’s usually some form of applejack or rum. Sometimes it’s whiskey – i.e., grain-based and aged – but very, very rarely. Some of it is good, but most of it is hooch. The point is that anything made legally can’t be moonshine. Continue reading “I Give Up – Moonshine It Is” »
I don’t get out to Michigan very often; I almost made it last year, to a wedding in Traverse City, but life intervened. Alas. So it was a pleasant surprise to see the whiskeys from New Holland Spirits, which until recently could rarely be found outside the state, show up in New York liquor stores.
The guys at New Holland are brewers by trade, hence the name of the whiskey, duh, one of a growing number of craft beer joints making their way into the distilling arts (c.f. Ranger Creek, Square One, etc.). It’s a great development: brewing is the first big step in distilling anyway, and too many distillers don’t bay enough attention to it, preferring to focus on distilling and aging. Guys like New Holland bring a lot of experience and fresh perspective to the craft enterprise – and it shows in whiskeys like this one. Continue reading “Just Sampled: New Holland Brewer’s Whiskey (Batch No. 2)” »
According to its label, WhistlePig Rye is “made” on a farm in Vermont. It’s an open secret, though, that very little aside from bottling happens on said farm, and that the whiskey is actually sourced from Canada. It’s a fine, fine drink, and it doesn’t make a huge difference to me where it’s made or who makes it – the company never says explicitly that it is anything other than a bottler, though naturally it doesn’t play up that fact.
But WhistlePig’s provenance raises an interesting question: is it Canadian whiskey, or is it American rye? Davin de Kergommeaux at Canadianwhisky.org wrote recently:
WhistlePig is wonderful whisky. It wins one award after another. Yes, it is bottled in Vermont, but it is distilled in Canada by Canadians, from Canadian rye grain, then matured and blended in Canada by Canadians before being shipped in bulk to Vermont for bottling. Great whisky? Yes! American straight rye? Absolutely NOT.
And it appears that the folks at K&L Wine Merchants, the California powerhouse retailer, agree: under their latest “new arrivals and back in stock” press release, they list Whistle Pig “Triple One” 11 Year Old Straight Rye Whiskey under “Canadian rye.” Continue reading “What Is WhistlePig?” »
Note to self: never get on Tim Read’s bad side. The author of the fine, fine (did I say fine?) whiskey blog Scotch and Ice Cream, Read has just written an extensive post ripping into the wine critic Robert Parker and his recent foray into bourbon.
There’s a lot to be miffed about in Parker’s review, which went out in his Wine Advocate newsletter and was later posted at K&L Spirits Journal. He doesn’t exactly endear himself to bourbon partisans with his introductory note: “I became enamored with a television series called Justified, starring and produced by Timothy Olyphant and co-produced by the well-known criminal writer Elmore Leonard and his son. Moreover, the bourbon drinking antics of the many violent episodes of this sensational series that takes place in Harlan County, Kentucky are a prominent sideshow.” From there, he figured he just had to try the stuff. Continue reading “Robert Parker and the Douche-ification of Bourbon” »